Sins

Am I correct in my understanding that the Church’s pronouncements regarding the law of God may only be interpretive and not originitive? Specifically, the Church cannot create new sins or repeal old ones.

After I get some responses I will have a follow-up question. :slight_smile:

The Church does not have a comprehensive list of sins. What is or is not a sin is determined by defining principals handed on from Christ and The Apostles. For example when the birth control pill were invented it is assessed in light of Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Since contraception of any form was always known to be an evil even going back to the Hebrew times, it remained so.

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What Ignatius said.

However, the Church does have the right to make and repeal laws that bind us under the pain of sin, such as attending Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation, and the laws regarding marriage. These can change. For example, the Feast of the Annunciation is no longer a Holy Day of Obligation in the U.S.A. So while it would have been a sin to intentionally miss Mass on that feast day several decades ago, it no longer is.

But in the past the sin wasn’t really missing Mass on the Feast of the Assumption. Rather, it was disobeying the law of the Church regarding Holy Days of Obligation. A subtle but important distinction.

My point is that it may appear on the surface that things that were not sinful in the past now are, or vice-versa. However, you need to look deeper to understand whether it’s something that is intrinsically wrong, such as murder, or something that was disobedience to a changeable law, such as the Holy Days.

The sin is in disobedience to a legitimate and current law. Certain laws can change, and certain laws–those of a divine nature, such as murder–can never change.

I think you’re confusing the notion of doctrine and dogma (which proceeds from God’s self-revelation) and that of sin (which proceeds from the various ways in which humans fail to act morally).

The Ten Commandments are a part of Scripture, and they detail specific sinful acts. However, this does not mean that these are the only sins that exist.

Correct, the Magisterium teaches truths found, implicitly or explicitly, in Divine Revelation (Tradition and Scripture). The Magisterium can also teach from natural law, but all the truths of natural law on faith and morals are also found, at least implicitly, in Tradition and Scripture. But the Magisterium teaches no truths that are new. A new definition of doctrine is a truth that has always been found in Divine Revelation.

The eternal moral law determines which acts are moral and which acts are sinful. The eternal moral law is based on the goodness and justice inherent to the Divine Nature. So the moral law is unchanging.

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